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Getting a grip of the Euro-blogosphere (updated)

I wrote a first version of this entry in September 2007, and have added and amended it ever since. A starting point for my reflections was this analysis from Euractiv of the Euroblogosphere. I have also reflected on the issues of the Euro-blogosphere having contributed to this academic analysis by Myra von Ondarza at Hambury University. J Clive Matthews has also had a go at a categorization of Euro-blogs.

This post is an effort to group together all the different EU blogs I read into some sort of categories. The sheer number of links below means I never quite know where to start for good EU analysis on blogs – maybe time for some better aggregation somewhere? Anyway, here goes. If you think there’s anything to add or you reckon your blog is the wrong category then let me know! Any blogs that don’t have RSS feeds are not included – I don’t have time to visit all the pages all the time…

Thanks to the excellent work of Jack Thursdon, you can find an aggregator of most of these blogs here.

Commentaries about the EU abound. These blogs generally aim to analyse the everyday goings-on in the European Union. The best of these is Nosemonkey (even if I don’t always agree with his analysis!). Gulf Stream Blues, DJ Nozem and Kosmopolit are worth a regular read. Berlaymonster has an amusing take on Brussels gossip. Erkan’s field diary is a mix of EU politics and plenty more besides. EU Corruption aims to highlight problems with the EU’s administration and wants things to be open and transparent. Tales from the European Underbelly, Belgian Waffle and EU for US look at politics and expat life in Brussels. Other commentaries are The European Parliament, e8voice, Re:Europa, The Evil European, The Rational European, Us Europeans (photo perspective), European Democracy, ¡No Pasaran!, A European View. 4 friends of mine write EU related blogs as well – Helena Markstedt (a Brussels-Swedish perspective), Marko Bucik (Slovenian perspective), Jeremy Hargreaves (a UK-Lib Dem perspective), Alejandro Ribo (a new-technology perspective) and Jo Jowers (a London administrative perspective).

There are also a number of Commentaries with a regional perspectiveBalkan Baby, A Northern Perspective, The Beatroot, Europika, James Barbour, Warsaw Station, Jacob Christensen and EU and Romania.

Multi-blogs bring together different commentators on EU affairs. A Fistful of Euros is the best established of these, although I do think the style is at times a bit too high-brow. The Euros (the English version of Les Euros du Village in French) is the best alternative to Fistful. European Tribune has good content but I’m put off by the terrible design. Euractiv’s Blogactiv is an effort to create a combined EU-commentary blog, with mixed results – why don’t they aggregate other blogs too? Café Babel and ShiftMag also have blogs, and BlogEuropa and Eurozine are other multi-author blogs.

Moving beyond that are the more intellectual Euro-blogs. The Social Europe blog has a variety of authors writing from a centre-left perspective and is always worth a visit. The Centre for European Reform think tank have a blog; the writing is fine, but they do not seem to have understood the blogging medium. European Council for Foreign Relations allows comments on their articles although their site is not a blog as such. Stanley Crossick’s blog provides excellent institutional analysis. Centre for European Politics at Royal Holloway, University of London and Telos EN give an overview of EU politics, while Vox EU gives an economic perspective.

The committed federalists have a few blogs worth a look – Jan Seifert was President of JEF (Young European Federalists), and Taurillon is a trilingual multi-blog run predominantly by French federalists. The Federal Union blog contributes additional analysis. The whodoicall.eu blog has all the analysis and speculation about the candidates for the EU’s top jobs in 2009.

Centre-left Euroblogs combine EU and social democratic issues. PES Manifesto (a fascinating experiment in using the internet for policy debate) and Progressivt EU group content from many authors, while Remi Bazillier, Yonnec Polet and Scratching the Surface are written by individuals. Noél Hatch has a UK / centre-left perspective.

On the eurosceptic side the main vitriol is provided by EU Referendum and Brussels Journal. The Open Europe think tank chips in too. There are also a fair few eurosceptic MEP bloggers – Daniel Hannan, Roger Helmer, Chris Heaton-Harris. Other eurosceptic opinions are provided by Free Europe, Through the EU Labyrinth, Ironies Too, The Anglo Saxon Chronicle, England Expects, EuroSoc and EU Realist. UKIPwatch keeps an eye on the sceptics.

Journalist blogs about EU matters have been springing up increasingly in the last 6 months. Mark Mardell, the BBC’s jovial EU reporter, is the best of the bunch. The FT Brussels Blog, The Economist’s Certain Ideas of Europe and Daily Telegraph correspondent Bruno Waterfield take the specific opinions of the respective publications. Bente Kalsnes gives an independent, Norwegian perspective. Brussels Media gives an overview of media in Brussels, while EU-Digest, European Political News and Sign and Sight try to summarise EU news. Public Affairs 2.0 looks at the changing media and communications landscape around the EU institutions.

From within the institutions, Margot Wallström leads the way in the Commission. Commissioners Fischer Boel, Potocnik, Dimas, Spidla and Piebalgs are following Wallström’s lead. In the Parliament, Richard Corbett MEP has been blogging for some time (although comments are not allowed – although a Corbett spoof blog does allow comments), while the Socialist Group is developing its blogging presence. A full list of all the Socialist Group MEP bloggers (in all languages) is also available. Mary Honeyball, Bill Newton Dunn and Alexander Stubb are also MEP-bloggers. Jim Murphy, Minister for Europe blogs from the UK Foreign Office.

Last but not least are the thematic blogs. On foreign policy James Rogers’s Global Power Europe is the best starting point. Analyzing EU and WSI Brussels Blog provide additional contributions. Dealing with different policy areas, Jack Thurston’s work on CAP is predominant – farmsubsidy.org and CAP Health Check provide excellent coverage. Wyn Grant’s CAP blog provides more. About the Eurozone, Eurozonewatch and Law of the EMU and the Euro provide the best coverage. The EU Energy Policy Blog provides good coverage of that increasingly important field. EU law is covered best by Ralf Grahn, and also by the ECJBlog, EU Law Blog, and Blogging about EU law and politics, EULawBlogger and Head of Legal.

An overview of blogs in languages other than English is a bit harder! I’m always astounded by the lack of decent EU blogs in German. The best are Nicole Meßmer and Daily Ruben. Helga Truepel is a green MEP that writes about EU politics. Also worth a look are Europa Blog and EUspresso.

EU blogs in French are much more numerous – so much so that it’s hard to know where to start! Jean Quatremer from Libération gives an interesting journalist opinion from Brussels, and Valéry Giscard d’Estaing is worth a read. eToile and Le Croche-Pied are two I follow regularly, while Fabien Cazenave and VXL defend the federalist cause. Others in no particular order: Bernard Poignant MEP, Dominique Reynié, Europa Blues, EUROPEUS, Avenir de l’Europe (UMP), Daniel Riot, l’Europe dans la campagne, Marie-Noëlle Lienemann, Nouvelle Europe, Publius, Telos FR, Trans Europe Express (BE), Agir pour l’Europe, Un Européen jamais content, Fondation Robert Schuman BlogEurope, , La construction européenne peut-elle rebondir, Laurent Delporte, L’europe en débat, France-Europe, Journal d’un Chou, Quoi de neuf en Europe, Relatio, Rève d’Europe, Robert Toulemon, European Memories.


39 Comments

  • Matt Wardman |

    Jon

    I note that you have missed Brussels Journal off your list. Surely a Technorati ranking of higher than 1200 – higher than ANY UK-based political blog afaik – justifies inclusion.

    Do you mind if I use this article as part of the basis for blogs monitored for politics-europe.co.uk – an aggregator I am developing.

    At present my list is small as the site is in beta. My ultimate objective is to cover the spectrum. Perhaps my total will be 120-200 blogs, including all politicians blogging in English.

    I have not finally decided on the UK-based/rest of the EU balance.

    I’d be grateful for any help you are able to give.

  • Jon |

    Brussels Journal is actually there, but I managed to call the link ‘Brussels Tribune’ – apologies. Now corrected above. You’re welcome to use the list for politics-europe.co.uk

    If you want to syndicate the EU politics content from this site then this address will give you just that (and none of the UK stuff):
    http://www.jonworth.eu/category/1/european-politics/feed/

    Would be happy to contribute in some way to politics-europe.co.uk providing it’s an impartial project…

  • matt |

    It’s an aggregator not a blog.

    See my approach here

    Essentially I am aiming to provide a combined Euro-politics feed. See this.

    And the easiest way was to build an aggregator (or 5).

    I’m doing wales, england, scotland, ireland and europe aggregators.

    I’ll certainly reflect a cross-section of views.

    [I've just tidied the links up in this comment]

  • Matt |

    >If you want to syndicate the EU politics content from this site then this address will give you just that (and none of the UK stuff):

    Done.

  • Giacomo Dorigo |

    A was just thinking that the federalists would need to improve their presence in the blogsphere following the example of the UK Labour or LibDem and yesterday I wrote a draft of an open letter to the JEF memebers, but I did not published it because I am not formally a member of JEF yet…

  • Jon |

    For what it’s worth open letters are not really the way to influence matters in JEF on this. Better would be a concrete plan to improve matters. JEF has been trying with Taurillon to do some decent analysis, but the problem is that it’s no good just writing things yourself as an individual on a multi-blog plartform – you have to know your audience, forge your own style, develop your own network of contacts. That’s how to get taken seriously.

  • Giacomo |

    I have just looked at Taurillon, but I wasn’t thinking to a web magazine.

    My idea was much more about “community” blogging at a local level, I mean blogs run by people from local JEF sections and then aggregated by some web pages.
    Besides I was not thinking to analysis blogs but to diary blogs about local activities.

    The main function of the aggregator page would be that of a research tree for who wants to know what’s going on in the JEF community around Europe or get in contact with the various groups scattered around.

  • Florian |

    Hi Jon, can you add to the list blogs which deal with European communications and European institutions and procedures in general? I’d like to read and discuss more on that, e.g. on the comitology reform or the clash between Kallas and public affairs organisations on lobbying.

  • Jon |

    I actually don’t know any blogs really covering those themes… If there are any out there then can someone let me know?

  • Jack |

    A nice overview, and thanks for the mention of farmsubsidy.org and caphealthcheck.eu

    Using the marvellous Yahoo Pipes, I constructed a mega-feed of all those you listed, set to display the 100 most recent posts, though this could be increased.

    It’s here: http://tinyurl.com/2zqv7q

    And fully RSS-able for those who do that.

  • Jon |

    Thanks for that Jack – it looks like a decent and simple aggregator at Yahoo. Problem is that most of the posts currently are eurosceptic ones as Brussels Journal and EU Referendum are more active posting than others!

  • Jack |

    Well, maybe there’s a lesson in the fact that the eurosceptics bloggers are more active at the moment.

    There are several solutions from the point of view of aggregation:

    (1) limit each blog to a certain number of posts within the aggregator, so that more frequently updated blogs do not dominate.
    (2) remove some blogs from the list
    (3) incorporate the aggregator output into a corank.com site, to allow community members to move good posts up the rankings, and bad ones down. (a eublog digg clone)
    (4) rank posts within the aggregator according to inward links rather than by date – this will give an idea of the most influential blog posts.

    All of this can be done by adapting the Pipe.

  • Jon |

    Or maybe we just need to better get our act together on the broadly pro-EU (but constructively critical) side… FistfulofEuros could be the way, but it’s too irregular.

  • Giacomo |

    It seems the problem is a little circular:
    because we lack a really European public square,
    so we try to use blogs for building it,
    but we have discovered that we lack a really European virtual public square where to aggregate our blogs
    :D

  • Elaib |

    Looing forward to meeting up when you get here.
    OK so we don’t agree on too much but I promise to buy you a beer on Place Lux when you get here.

  • Kerry |

    Very interesting and very helpful. You mention rightly that the Socialist Group in the European Parliament is developing its blog presence. We are trying! What we would like to do is provide interesting insight and useful info whilst listening to what people are thinking about Europe and social democracy. Any constructive comments about how a political group could get more involved in the world of blogs would be really welcome. Thanks.

  • Jon |

    I reckon there are a few things a political group should bear in mind…

    (1) What is the point of the blog, above and beyond the press and comms work done already? The blog should not just be a summary of what has been written elsewhere.

    (2) It needs to be updated often. That’s more important than who it is that writes the entries. However with a large number of MEPs getting some contributions should not be too hard.

    (3) Don’t be afraid to be informal – the style you need to use is very different from most other forms of writing for politics.

  • Martin Keegan |

    Are you really only familiar with three Eurosceptic weblogs? Or is there just some selection criterion I’ve not spotted which is excluding others?

    Individually some of the authors of Brussels Journal are quite mainstream, but Paul Belien and Fjordman strike me as sufficiently nationalistic as to cause people to entangle their other political views with their Euroscepticism when evaluating them, which is problematic.

  • Jon |

    The selection criteria are no more advanced than these are EU-related blogs that I have come across and have felt have decent content. If you think others should be added the please just write them here in a comment and I’ll incorporate them.

  • nanne |

    Hey Jon,

    Thanks for the kind words. My extended holiday is due to lack of internet, which is due to moving and customer disservice by the German telephone company. Don’t have time to blog from work, though I spout off comments on eurotrib from time to time.

    The European Tribune is trying to voice progressive politics through a community. There isn’t really an exclusive focus on the EU, but it generally stays European. I personally like the blog a lot, perhaps because it reminds me a bit of my days on usenet (ah, usenet). Community blogs like Daily Kos have been founded by people who came from usenet and reflect that.

  • Frank |

    Hi Jon!

    I found your post following an interesting article on Euractive. Yes, European blogosphere is fragmented and aggreagators are welcome.

    But why not to extend this idea to the whole social media area, and not just blogs? It would be great if you can let us know what you think about http://www.mypacis.eu/ the first European Social Network with a social agenda: promoting peace and multilingualism by linking Europeans together.

    We already offer blogs, the platform will be upgraded soon. We also offer many other tools, because we think a social network is an effective media to reach younger generations, while still accessible to more mature users.

  • london |

    Euro-Blogs are mind twisting adventures waiting for the unsuspected readers
    Should I be an Euro sceptic ,should I be pro – Europe?
    It is for you guys to decide..

  • Jon |

    Thanks for the link!

    It seems that this post has filled a bit of a niche – the need to have some kind of mapping of what’s going on with EU political blogs. There might be grounds for some aggregation system from all of this – depends if I find a few free hours to work on it in the new year.

  • Mathieu - President / Euros du Village |

    Thanks very much Jon for your comments about The Euros, the new English version of Euros du Village. We are just launching this version which is still not final. A new version will appear in some days and we expect new contributors with a good background in EU policies (quality is our highest requirement) to join us. This is a real challenge for us, but the adventure is great and if people reading this post want to participate in this project, they are welcome !

  • Ralf Grahn |

    Updating and reposting this entry from time to time is a public service which contributes to the growth of a European public space.

    Perhaps a call for bloggers in other countries than Britain and France or other languages than English and French could be a next step, given that these would have to be in one of the more common languages of the EU, for instance German, Italian, Spanish or Polish.

    German(y) I have wondered about. With 90 million German speaking EU citizens one would expect a lively EU blog scene, but in fact it is hard to find decent blogs with European content.

    By the way, Europaportalen in Sweden is launching a new collective blog – http://www.europabloggen.se – representing different shades of domestic opinion, but we will have to wait and see if it manages to widen beyond the national scope and rise above current level of debate.

  • James Stevens |

    Useful post, a great round up of all the blogs out there.

    One more for the pot, Micky B(erendt) posts on a regular basis on our own corporate EU FH site. Former Commission spokesperson and general consultant god , he’s no longer in Brussels but reflects from afar. Still good stuff.

    http://eu.fleishmaneurope.com/blog/

    FYI – for an event in May we’ve a team of researchers in the office spending a bit of time looking at how many MEPs have websites, blogs, Facebook entries. Hopefully some interesting stuff will come out of it.

  • David |

    Hi Jon.

    Thanks for all the links.

    Can I point out that we’re not really eurosceptic at eu-corruption.com. We’re just in favour of transparent government and against corruption?

    Best regards,

    David

  • Jon |

    I’ve now corrected the link, and put eu-corruption.com in with ‘Commentaries’.

  • R. |

    Hi Jon, thanks for mentioning my blog! This is really a great idea, it’s excellent to have an overview of the scattered blogosphere available. And I found some new blogs…

  • Jo |

    thanks for the mention Jon. Noticed my hits rate was rising, though my most popular entries remain the French and Italian menus for Valentine’s day over the EU commentaries… Did you mention your Facebook group on the list of eublogspheres?

  • ArnaudH |

    Thank you so much for all the hard work, it’s incredibly useful!

    Here’s another one in French: http://www.quindiblog.eu

    Although it might be more International Relations as a whole rather than EU specifically

  • Tom - London |

    Good choice with the Jo Jowers recommendation – it’s one of the few that I try to read.. I think with such a substantial list I may have to find a couple of extra hours in the day!

So, what do you think ?